With only 129 miles (207 km) between the cities of Milan and Lucca, getting there in one day is doable. The fastest and most scenic way to get to Lucca is by driving, during which you can stop along the coast to see cities like La Spezia and Viareggio. Either rent a car or go for the more comfortable option, a private transfer.
Taking a high-speed train is another option, but keep in mind there are no direct routes. Take the fastest route via high-speed train from Milano Centrale station to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station (Firenze S.M. Novella), then transfer to a regional train that will get you to Lucca. Or embark on this 7-day journey that starts in Florence, travels through Siena and Pisa, and ends in Lucca.
By Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Renting a car and driving south from Milan to Lucca is the quickest and most scenic form of transportation. After getting out of the Milan circle, take A51 autostrada toward A1, then turn down two more toll roads (A15 and A12) that will have you driving along the Ligurian Sea coast. Take the exit Lucca Ovest on A11 that will guide you into the heart of Lucca. Driving straight from Milan to Lucca will take three hours and 10 minutes, but always expect some light traffic.
One of the best parts about driving is you get to see cities and towns along the way if time allows it. Stop in Parma known for its cheese and ham, the port city of La Spezia for its colorful architecture, or Viareggio that is known for its Carnival.
If your budget allows it, a private transfer is also available to get from Milan to Lucca. This is by far the most comfortable option and an opportunity to sit back and take in the Tuscan countryside to its fullest. Also, a private transfer avoids having to park, which is a known issue in Lucca.
Duration: 3.5-5 hours
Although there are no direct routes, the high-speed train is a comfortable and generally easy way to get from Milan to Lucca. The two main rail companies in Italy are the government-run Trenitalia and the privately owned Italo, both of which depart from Milano Centrale station.
The quickest route is to transfer in Florence, so take the high-speed train—which Trenitalia refers to this as Frecciarossa (FR)—from Milano Centrale station to Firenze S.M. Novella station. Trains from Milan to Florence run every hour and take between one and 30 minutes to two hours. High-speed trains leave every hour. Once you arrive in Florence, switch to the regional train headed to Lucca station, which is one hour and 45 minutes.
You can also take the regional train from Milano Centrale station to Pisa Centrale station and transferring to another regional train to get to Lucca station, which takes four hours and 30 minutes. Another option is to take a regional train that leaves twice a day to Viareggio, then taking the bus from Piazza Dante Stazione Fs to Piazzale Verde in Lucca, which takes five hours and 30 minutes in total.